This letter was written by Emily Fisher (1819-1889), the daughter of Isaac Fisher (1788-1862) and Harriet Johnson (1791-1866). Emily’s siblings included: Eliza Glover Fisher (1813-1857), Henry Fisher (b. 1817), Charles Fisher (b. 1825), Lewis George Fisher (b. 1828), and Francis Harriet Fisher (b. 1831).
From this letter, we learn that Emily Fisher kept a select school in New Richmond, Ohio in 1839-40. It is also clear that she boarded with Dr. John Rogers and his wife, who had a home and office (next door) in the 300 block of Front Street. Dr. Rogers began his practice in New Richmond in 1818 and had the distinction of officiating at the birth of Ulysses S. Grant in 1822. He was an ardent anti-slavery advocate.
Addressed to Mrs. Harriet Fisher, Springfield, Windsor County, Vermont
New Richmond [Ohio]
July 13, 1840
My Dear Mother,
I received your letter of June 9th with the greatest surprise and pleasure. I could hardly believe it was from the pen of my mother so seldom do I see her writing and knowing how averse you are to it. I have delayed answering it until now for I knew you would be anxious to know what my future lot is to be. (I am going to obey the command of Eliza and write about myself. She says my letters are all questions, but if she will write more about home, I shall not have so many questions to ask.) My school closed on the third of July and I was not sorry. It was very fatiguing. It consisted of 30 scholars just tolerably profitable, but it is more than it is worth to collect it.
I think I mentioned in my last, or one of my letters, that I should probably leave here. I am going. I have the offer of a very good situation in the city of Chillicothe, and shall leave my kind friends and happy home again, to enter a land of strangers. But it is with different feelings from what I left my native home. Then, I rushed into the world unconscious of the trials that awaited me. Now, I go knowing well what I shall meet with. Then, I went ignorant of the place and the people in which and among whom I was to be thrown. Now, I go knowing who and what I am to be with and what I am to do.
The invitation came in the very time I wanted it. My school was drawing to a close and I was resolved to stay here no longer (not that I am dissatisfied with the place, but it is such unaccountable hard work to teach here and doubly hard to get the pay.) I knew nothing where I should go. I could get schools enough, but not such as I wanted. However, in the last week of my school, the letter came urging me to come and fill the place of associate principle in the Chillicothe [Female] Seminary. The Principal is a gentleman, which will make it even better. He writes I shall be received into his family and all that can be done for my comfort and happiness shall be done. The letter was a very satisfactory one. The Dr. answered it immediately (the letter was directed to him) stating that I would come &c. &c. We have received another letter since stating when the term would commence, which is on the 1st of September, but they would be happy to welcome me to their family at any time from that date and should depend upon my coming soon, although I should commence teaching until the ensuing term.
I shall not go, however, for five or six weeks. The Dr. thinks I had better stay with him as long as possible and get well _____ted. My health is pretty good now, or will be soon. I have obeyed your command and I think have cleared my stomach well. At any rate, I have taken medicine enough to do it. Oh the big pills that I have swallowed!! The thought of them is most equal to an emetic on me. They have made me quite sick for a week past, which is the reason I did not send my letter of the 13th as I intended, and my hand trembles so that it is with great difficulty that I write now. Do not think, Mother, that I have had a fit of sickness. I should not have been upon my bed atall probably, had taken nothing, but in obedience to your command and Mrs. R____ command, and the Dr. advice, I did it. I shall be very well now, I suppose.
Mother, have I ever had the whooping cough? I have been afflicted with a cough for some time. For a few week at first I coughed constantly, night and day, so that it was difficult for me to get along in school. I had no appearance of cold. It came on very suddenly, and violently. The whooping cough being in my school, I thought it must be that, but the good Dr. has dosed me with his drops and _____ so it has nearly gone.
I am driving now at repairing all my clothes before I leave. I intend visiting Janette next week. I have learned to ride on horseback, and am going that way, Mrs. Rogers and myself. We have a very gentle little pony and I can ride when I please. Jenny was well the last I heard from her. Felicity is 14 miles from here.
I am moderately successful in collecting my money — have about 700 dollars out. Think I shall get the most of it before I go. I want Eliza to write me exactly how we stand in regard to money matters in the next letter, and be sure and write soon that I may get it before I leave New Richmond. You must pardon this bad looking letter for I do not feel overly like writing. I would be glad to ask a few questions about home but suppose I must not mind that you answer them without asking. Do not feel concern about my health for I am going to have my rest and shall be perfectly well again.
Mrs. Rogers desires to be remembered and the Dr. send his best respects. Be sure and write me all about everything. I think I have written about myself this time. My love to all friends. Tell Henry I would take some manifestation that he is my brother. I shall write as soon as I get to Chillicothe.